IN Singapore to Western Malaysia

squalls, and less rain as the NE monsoon penetrates into the area. Even in this season it is possible to get NW or W winds for some days. March and April are variable and the SW monsoon starts early in May, being strongest in July and August. The SW winds are strongest in the northern portions of the Malacca Strait, variable from SE to SW with calms in the centre and more SE in southern areas towards Singapore.

Sea and land breezes occur on both shores of the Malacca Strait and up to 20 miles offshore. The sea breeze begins about mid-morning and reaches a maximum in the afternoon, dying away at sunset. The strength of the breeze can be augmented to 20 knots if it combines with the prevailing monsoon or can remain light and variable if the monsoon opposes the breeze. Conditions vary greatly from place to place. On the Malaysian coast the night land breeze can be very strong, starting in the evening and sometimes blowing hard all night. Further up the coast towards Thailand, the SW monsoon blows more steadily and stongly than in the Malacca Strait, lacking the shielding effect of the large island of Sumatra. SW winds dominate from May to September with their maximum steadiness in July and August. On the other hand the high landmass of Thailand shelters this coast from the NE monsoon, which tends to have a more northerly component than elsewhere. Very rarely, about once every fifty years, tropical storms come across from the Bay of Bengal and reach the Gulf of Siam.

Best time: Tropical sform-»: Charts:


Cruising guides: Waypoints:

October to November. April

Phuket and Malacca Straits Guide.





Distance (M)

Route 1\ 11A IN111 Channel W; 1'14'N, 103C30'E ■

IN112 Muar 1'57'N, 102C30'E IN113 Panjang N 2'09'N, 102°15'E

IN114 Klang S 2'50'N, 101'15'E

Port Klang 3'00'N, 101'23'E






Distance fAlJ


IN115 Klang N

IN116 Sembilan

3°2CTN, 101°00'E

4'00'N, 100°27'E

IN117 Penang S

IN118 Langkawi S

Bass Harbour


5C09'N. 100'10'E



Although a passage through Malacca Strait can be undertaken throughout the year, the most settled weather is during the NE monsoon, when the frequency of squalls is much lower than during the opposite season. The notorious sumatras are more frequent during the SW monsoon, and because they are accompanied by heavy rain and gale force winds they can make navigation difficult, the situation being also complicated by the large amount of shipping.

Another feature of navigation in Malacca Strait are the strong tidal currents which, combined with the normally light winds, make it more convenient to anchor between tides than to try and sail against the current. This can be easily done as there are anchoring depths all along the sides of the strait and there are sufficient protected places where one can stop for a few hours. The Malaysian side is preferable if this passage is done in shorter stages. Light winds and calms are more frequent during the day, so it is better to sail at night when breezes are steadier and the weather is generally more pleasant. One hazard, however, that is almost impossible to avoid at night are the numerous fish traps that line the two sides of the strait, so it is a good idea to keep out of shallow water during the hours of darkness.

Very few, if any, voyages along the west coast of Malaysia are made without stopping and for this reason this route has been divided into two, with a break at Port Klang where most northbound boats usually interrupt their journey. There are several ports between Malacca and Penang that can be visited by northbound boats from Singapore. Entry formalities for Malaysia can be completed at Malacca, where it is possible to come alongside other boats moored on the banks of the river. Taking WPIN111, at the entrance into the Malacca

Strait, as a point of departure, the route runs parallel to the Malaysian coast to WP IN112. A first stop can be made at Muar (2°02'N, 102°34'E), which is an official port of entry into Malaysia. Alternatively, one may continue to WP IN113, off Panjang Island, in the approaches to Malacca (2°15'N, 102°35'E). WP IN114 brings one to the south entrance to the channel leading into Port Klang, Malaysia's main port serving the capital Kuala Lumpur. South Klang Strait leads into the port, where the Royal Selangor Yacht Club is located on its eastern side (3°00.3'N, 101°23.5'E). Visiting boats may use the facilities of the yacht club, whose office will also assist with the clearance formalities.

Northbound boats will leave the port through North Klang Strait and pick up the offshore route at WP IN115. The route continues parallel to the Malaysian coast to WP IN116 west of the Sembilan Islands. Ten miles further north, the island of Pangkor hides the entrance into Dindings river and the small town of Lumut. If a stop in Penang is not intended, the route continues offshore that island. Otherwise, WP IN117 marks the entrance into South Channel, which leads to the narrows separating Penang from the mainland. Access under the bridge joining Penang to the mainland is prohibited without written permission, so if one does not have such permission, one should either anchor south of the bridge or use North Channel. To clear into Malaysia at Penang, one has to visit customs in Georgetown, whereas the immigration office is in Butterworth on the mainland. For most northbound boats, the last stop in Malaysia is the island of Langkawi, whose main attraction is that it is a duty-free area. WP IN118 is off Tyson Strait leading into the perfectly protected Bass Harbour.

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